Fighting the Current

The illusionist Derren Brown has studied the philosophy and psychology of happiness – and he argues that many of us could take a radical new approach to improving our well-being. Imagine that you are standing on one side of a river, and you want to reach a village on the other side.

You have a group of cheerleaders behind you, egging you on. So you set off, full of determination. But you have forgotten to take the river’s current into account – and no matter how hard you strain your muscles, you can’t quite overcome it. By the time you reach the other bank, you have been pulled far from the place you intended to be.

We may not like to admit it, but our life follows a similar trajectory – as forces beyond our control drag us from our chosen path.  Most self-help books would suggest that you can fight life’s currents with determination and positive thinking. Brown believes that this is simply a recipe for disappointment and frustration. “We’re better off making our peace with the fact that that is the dynamic of life – rather than creating a false idea that we can somehow control everything to bring it in line with what our goals are.”

The debate between destiny and free will has gone on for hundreds of years by the philosophers, theologians, and the common man on the street. I believe the Bible teaches that there is a perfect balance that can be seen in both, even if our human reasoning is a little shy of comprehending it.

I occasionally like to listen to the old syndicated radio programs of Casey Kasem. It takes me back to the sixties, when I was growing up with some of the greatest music artists in the history of pop music.

Now I realize that most people refer to their youth and the music that was popular then as the “best,” which is understandable, because there are always memories attached to the music of their day.

When it comes to the top No. 1 albums on the 63-year-old Billboard chart, there are The Beatles and then there’s everybody else. The overriding question, again, was it destiny or free will that launched this band? I believe it was that perfect balance of both.

When it comes free will, I am not sure any band worked harder at their craft. The Quarrymen made their first appearance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool on 21 February 1957.  On 9 February 1961 the group first performed there under their new name of the Beatles. The band performed over 400 times culminating in a final appearance there on 3 August 1963—one month after the group recorded “She Loves You,” six months before their first trip to the United States.

As far as the destiny card, meeting up with Brian Epstein and George Martin, the timing couldn’t have been better, the world was wide open for a new rock ‘n’ roll sound. “I’ve never figured it out, and I don’t think anyone has ever been able to,” said Matt Hurwitz, Beatles historian. “Even their publicist Derek Taylor told me, ‘It’s something I’ve never been able to put a finger on. They just had an inexplicable charisma.’ ” And the blessing of the gods, obviously.

The Beatles – 19
The Fab Four collected their first 14 No. 1 albums in just a little more than six years (six years, three months and 29 days, to be exact), between Feb. 15, 1964, and June 13, 1970, when Let It Be reached the top. After that, the band returned to No. 1 with five more compilation efforts.

JAY-Z — 14
Bruce Springsteen — 11
Barbra Streisand — 11
Elvis Presley — 10
Garth Brooks — 9
The Rolling Stones — 9
Kenny Chesney — 8
Eminem — 8
Madonna — 8
U2 — 8
Kanye West — 8
Drake — 7
Janet Jackson — 7
Elton John — 7
Led Zepplin — 7
Paul McCartney & Wings — 7
Michael Jackson – 5 Although Jackson is lower on the list of number 1 albums on Billboard’s charts, he is the only male and the first artist to chart six number one hits from one LP, Bad (“Bad”, “Smooth Criminal”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Man in the Mirror”, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, and “Dirty Diana”).

The tally for number 1 albums will continue and all the hoop la that goes with it, but not sure anyone will surpass The Beatles legacy in our life time.

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